Childcare Costs Increase For NI

The cost of full-time childcare in Northern Ireland has increased from the previous year's figures, it has been revealed.

New research by charity Employers for Childcare, found the average cost of full-time childcare for one child is £162 a week in NI.

This is an increase of 2.5% from the previous year.

Some 4,500 parents were interviewed for the study, which said that 60% of families in the region are struggling to meet the costs of childcare. Almost a third (27%) said that childcare is their largest outgoing. For other parents, they have actually had to reduce their working hours in order to keep costs down.

According to the feedback received from parents, the average childcare costs in Northern Ireland vary depending on nursery, childminding or breakfast club places. For example, a full-time day nursery place costs £156 a week, while a full-time childminding place at £167 per week. Elsewhere, an after-school club is said to be £83 per week, while a spot at breakfast club will cost parents £30 a week. Summer schemes were also included in the research, coming in at an average of £121 per week.

Commenting ahead of today's launch of the report, Mairaid McMahon, Director of Charity Services, Employers for Childcare, said: "The rising cost of childcare is having serious effects on local families, with many parents making financial sacrifices just to make ends meet. We've heard from parents who are reducing their hours, or leaving work altogether, due to the high cost of childcare, as well as 22% of respondents who are relying on loans or credit cards to pay their childcare bills.

"We've been publishing these annual surveys now for five years and, despite all of our best efforts, almost half of all respondents are still not sure as to whether they are getting all of the help to which they are entitled with their childcare costs. That's why today we are calling on our devolved institutions to take some urgent action to help local parents navigate this increasingly complex, and expensive, system."


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